Fukushima: “Far From Any Stable Shutdown”

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Thu, 11/03/2011 - 11:43 | 1841713 DarthVaderMentor
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Things must be pretty bad when in Donglicker's Marketticker forum the pro-nuclear lobbyists are finally admitting that this is "Bad News". After all, Donglicker banned every expert that had even hinted at "re-criticality" even the one that had ACTUALLY WORKED AT FUKUSHIMA, which was an exclusive for him which he has now lost.

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 10:42 | 1841287 g speed
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Japan-- over time(within the decade) the plutonium stored in no4 will go critical and melt down to the rock--the heat from fissionable urainuim that is critical now will cause pressures and temperatures in the rock cracks that will allow a high speed chain reaction (aka nuke) to take place. It's a chance for the black swan of Asia. 

 On a shorter time line the heavy winters coming to the US Midwest will run off and bust the dams in the lower Mississipppi basin-- a new river delta in south La --starts happening this year with spring run off.

Just a couple of guesses but your heard it here first.

All experts say these events will never occur.

Murphy says if it can it will

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 10:40 | 1841281 dexter_morgan
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This sounds bad - what are the worst case and most-likely case scenarios? I guess it's hard to say since we aren't getting the full story, but any educated guesses?

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 10:32 | 1841238 Jim in MN
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More news--TEPCO now saying 'it's just fission product reactions, not recriticality.'  Meanwhile....

Radioactive materials detected in Tokyo Bay

Waste water discharged into Tokyo Bay from a cement plant has been found to contain radioactive cesium at much higher levels than the government-set limit for disposal.

The plant in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, uses ash from incinerators in the prefecture to produce cement.

The Chiba government says the plant operator checked waste water discharged from the plant into Tokyo Bay once in September and once in October.

It found radioactive cesium at levels of 1,103 becquerels per kilogram, and 1,054 becquerels per kilogram respectively.

The levels are 14 to 15 times higher than the limit set by the country's Nuclear Safety Commission.

The water had been used to clean filters which remove toxic materials from ashes.

The operator stopped discharging the waste water on Wednesday. The prefectural government has launched a survey of the seawater of Tokyo Bay near the plant.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011 22:08 +0900 (JST)

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 10:15 | 1841125 dexter_morgan
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I apologize for this being off topic sort of, but got the following email from a friend and was curious if any of the gun people that frequent the site can confirm this:

"Who is buying companies manufacturing guns ???????? Very important to know, but what can we do ???? For the last several years a company called The Freedom Group has been buying up gun and ammunition manufacturers.Some of the companies are Bushmaster,Marlin,Remington, DPMS, Dakota Arms and H&R.
Some people worry that this Freedom Group is going to control most of the firearms companies in the United States . If you control the manufacturers you can Decide to stop selling to civilians.What a perfect way to control guns. Now if you do some digging you will see that The Freedom Group is owned
by a company called Cerberus Capital Management. Guess who controls Cerberus??? GEORGE SOROS !!!!!!!!! One of the most evil men on this planet who wants to restrict or ban all civilian guns.
Please pass this on to all your freedom loving friends. This needs to come out.Why have we not heard about this in the "mainstream" media? I would think this would be BIG news. If you don't know who George Soros is you need to do some research. He backed Obama with millions of dollars and Obama is a puppet on a string controlled by Soros. Send this to every gun owner in America"

Fact or fiction?

Fri, 11/11/2011 - 20:24 | 1871310 SIOP
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" The Freedom Group has been buying up gun and ammunition"

False. http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/freedom.asp      (google is your friend)

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 09:53 | 1841009 SoNH80
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Wasn't there a hip disco in 1970's NYC called Xenon?  Let's luude out and boogie on the shores of the Pacific... I ate some Japanese canned snow crab meat the other day, the price has dropped $3/can.  Very delicious, helping out the hard-pressed fishermen of Nippon, and not glowing yet.  Might as well whistle past the graveyard... nothing I hear about Fukushima news sounds good, nothing at all.

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 09:05 | 1840670 Mr. Blind Justice
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There is a place to hide.  Follow the instructions:



Thu, 11/03/2011 - 09:05 | 1840668 High Plains Drifter
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i don't understand this talk about shutdown by tepco. the cores are out of control. they are out of the structure. they are out of the buildings. they are in the ground. what the hell are they talking about?  the situation is out of control and there is very little that any human can do about it. so tepco, why not see if you can figure out what to do about that , instead of issuing mindless press releases that are all lies......

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 14:39 | 1842601 HedgeCock
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The only thing in cold shutdown is brain of whoever is responsible for the clean up.

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 09:02 | 1840650 Mr. Blind Justice
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There is something you can do.  Follow these instructions:



Thu, 11/03/2011 - 08:40 | 1840456 Bicycle Repairman
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Okay they've tried pouring boron on the plant.  Now it's time for a million Japanese each with a shoveful of cement.  Will it solve the problem?  Maybe, maybe not, but it has to work better than benign neglect.  Get your shovels.

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 09:14 | 1840726 maddogs
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The Reactor material as capable of melting through the concrete and steel reinforced, it will melt till hit hits sufficient water to dilute the materials. Dilution will happen by spreading the material. Till the material is spread apart, the reaction rate will continue, this is not to say that in the intervening time, the material will not congregate in some small way. There are no true models on a "China syndrome" in how the material will disperse, or differing parts of the materials "drilling into the eart might come into contact with other "pools" of materials. There is no way of telling if this might be the situation.

The only historical evidence that shows the process to come to a rapid downgrading in reaction, is the scenario where the material is spread about,,,, I'm in the camp where this will happen, sooner or late. The only question is when, the "spread will happen, and how it will manifest it's self.

Do not eat the Tuna.

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 09:26 | 1840839 Bicycle Repairman
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The problem with dilution is that even as seperate, minute 'hot' particles the stuff is still deadly and the danger will last for years and years even diluted.  Dilution spreads the danger all over the earth.  So let the first half million shovels seperate it enough to end the reaction, then the second half million shovels cover it with concrete.  Get the shovels going.

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 08:37 | 1840435 apberusdisvet
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Our  grandchildren will never know that there ever was a Japan by the time this is over.

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 09:07 | 1840686 High Plains Drifter
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i basically said that in march. i speculated this was the end of japan. and it may well be. this radiation and fallout is spreading and the japanese themselves are not helping matters that much either.   speaking of radiation, i wonder just how much is on the planes that fly out of tokyo each day and how much is on the cars that japan exports...........etc etc etc........

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 07:51 | 1840179 krispkritter
Thu, 11/03/2011 - 07:24 | 1840098 daily bread
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The weasel words "partial re-criticality" are nice!  Like partial pregnancy.

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 06:47 | 1840065 westboundnup
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The news about Fukushima mimics the disaster itself.  Long periods of silences punctuated by sharp reminders of how toxic and dangerous the situation is, and will be into the future.

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 06:33 | 1840062 JOYFUL
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Good to see George return to his strong suite.  

Pretty much a lock that isreal 'did' Fukushima with a stuntex, after using Darth Cheney as point man in the set up.  


Bad enough that they knock down tall buildings with a sweep of the hand. Now they've upset the plans of backyard gardeners for several thousand years.  Hopefully it's the gardening classes which will finally say enough is enough to the small hyper-aggressive bully in the middle east sandbox-they're really passionate about their hobby!


Thu, 11/03/2011 - 06:31 | 1840061 onthesquare
Thu, 11/03/2011 - 06:14 | 1840049 proLiberty
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For all the billions we have wasted on wind power, we could have designed and tested a new generation of 'walk-away-safe' reactors.  Government has been just as bull-headed in its wind power insantity as it has been in the regulatory favoritism towards a legacy of reactor designs that are subject to running away and require ongoing power to keep sufficiently cool, even when shut down. 

A disaster scenario that also disables the reactor's backup power was the industry's 'black swan'.  Sure enough, as impossible as that scenerio was, it happened not to just one reactor, but where the reactors were clustered.

Happily there are a growing number of people minds that are open enough to reconsider reactor designs based on thorium.  Further, the Rossi eCat was successfuly tested, so there is another open-ended energy technology that appears to be safe. 


Thu, 11/03/2011 - 14:43 | 1842622 HedgeCock
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The thorium thing is neva' going to happen.

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 08:53 | 1840587 Ruffcut
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Ain't nothing wrong with wind power. Just put a ton of the mills in DC and let the useless blowhards make enuff energy for generations to come.

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 09:36 | 1840915 IAmNotMark
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Sorry.  That won't work.  If the useless blowhards figure out that they're doing something useful, they'll stop.

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 07:16 | 1840086 jeff montanye
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let us see.  if the wind mill malfunctions what happens?  migratory birds injured?  electricity cut off?  maybe a plant operator killed?  if the nuclear reactor malfunctions what happens?  have to have a phd to enter the argument and, as events here indicate, the phds apparently aren't sure.  

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 05:23 | 1840034 Cynical Sidney
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krugman :"BULLISH!"

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 03:29 | 1839989 Element
Element's picture

Something tells me we may eventually end up with a new SI unit called the Fuku.

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 02:24 | 1839970 buyingsterling
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Too bad the international community had to abandon all of their efforts to help the Japanese contain this. What efforts? Er, didn't Obama say something about it the day after it happened? Thank goodness it's not a global problem affecting everyone, or our leaders might be awfully worked up about it.

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 02:16 | 1839969 zhandax
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"Potential black swan"?  This bitch is the gift that keeps on giving.  I will need another bottle of kelp capsules by next month and I am on the east-ish end of NA.  But we can agree on the thanks to GW for the update.

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 01:48 | 1839958 Nobody For President
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Well, Bloomberg and Business Week have noted it - wonder when (if) it will hit page 12 of the MSM? Is this why the Nikkei is down 2%+ at the moment? 

THANKS (again)  GW for staying on this puppy - a potential Black Swan lurks...

Wed, 11/02/2011 - 23:54 | 1839833 Urban Roman
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"China Syndrome" or "Rio / Caracas Syndrome" if you will -- is the best case scenario. The contents of the cores burying themselves in earth's crust.

What we apparently have, is a worst case scenario. The not-quite-buried corium continues to sputter and spew, and all Tepco does is to rinse it off with seawater, carrying the massive contamination to the rest of the planet. Too bad no country has an environmental policy, or someone would have to take over and make them stop scattering the nuke waste.

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 04:56 | 1839995 Element
Element's picture

Worst case is it stays exactly where it is, and gets hotter, and the buildings get hotter above it, and the foundation's demise causes the structural walls to crumble on top of it, and the spent fuel pools then finally join in the mayhem.

I made a couple of lengthy posts back in April and May pointing that magmas and lavas don't sink, especially into solid country rocks that heat extremely slowly (because they have very low/slow thermal conductivity ... contiguous rock simply does not heat up quickly enough ... it takes thousands to millions of years to heat and melt a cubic km of solid rock via thermal conduction ... mostly they just go through a solid-state metamorhism and deform with a recrystalization of their bulk chemistry into new mineral types and rock micro-fabric).

Instead, a 'melt' ALWAYS moves NET upwards (especially when excess liquid or gaseous water and salts are involved) and/or laterally in structural weaknesses (rock joints, cracks, faults) towards the point of lowest pressure, and that's toward the interface with the atmosphere and hydrosphere (into the soil, not into rock).

To go downward into rock the pressure and temp (and also containment) must INCREASE - and very dramatically.

And it certainly won't do that, as steam eruptions will release pressure, and some heat, so it will pool at or just below the surface, with next to zero extra pressure or confinement. That means almost everything goes into the air and water, over time.

That's the problem with this whole naive 'China Syndrome' mythology, very few people will actually listen to a geologist explain what real, and persistently hot magma, and brine, and rock, and soil will do when they interact long-term ... then add in the self-heating and self-mixing aspects ... and the rainfall.

That's the key to what will happen. So if you want to get a good overview of what is most likely to happen here, the best people to speak to are geochemists, with a strong background in igneous petrology, and a lot of practical fieldwork experience.

The rest are guessing ... and getting it mostly very wrong ... then saying "everything we thought we knew is being changed" (which is actually a trendy tangential way of admitting you're a complete fucking idiot and massively incompetant, to even comment on such matters ... in the first place).

Well, no it isn't, as any serious geologist (and no, I do not mean some dimwit MSM-geo-monkey boy with a degree in geo-environmentalism or some fucking twaddle ... I mean a no-bullshiting hands-on reseacher of melted rock) could have told you what is likely to occur now ... but it's fantastically improper to ask a geologist almost anything these days. certainly the MSM treats geo's with complete and utter contempt (but will hang on avidly to whatever trite garbage some mere physics theorist trots out ...)

Hopefully, nuclear expert Paul Gunter's fear that we face a "China Syndrome" - where the fuel from the reactor cores at Fukushima have melted through the container vessels, into the ground, and are hitting groundwater and creating highly-radioactive steam - will turn out to be overblown (even though NHK and Tepco have allegedly confirmed that steam was escaping from underground back in June, something Fukushima workers have alleged for some time):


Possibly not, it's entirely possible that this steam was coming from cracks in the foundation, and then venting as steam into the soil and rock, heating it over time, so that it eventually comes to the surface as a vapour ... but the fuel itself is still in the foundation.

Fissioning fuel still in the foundation is in fact potentially far worse, as when the buildings eventually get so hot from the insulating effects of the concrete (and dilution of fuel is thus reduced also), that they keeping the excess heat in, and increasingly getting hotter, the building just crumbles, and the spent fuel pools then trigger the real disaster.

Yeah ... the  R E A L  disaster ... what has occurred so far is just the PRE-disaster preparation ... it's still coming.


I'm really sorry to say that ... it actually makes me feel sick to even think about it ... so I try not to.

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 10:27 | 1841205 Jim in MN
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Makes you wonder what TEPCO is measuring with their instrumentation.  They've been reporting 70-80 celsius for a while now.  The operating theory is to just keep watering the cores.  If they stop of course they heat right back up...so I am wondering, what is the structure inside there and where is there fuel that isn't getting watered?

Hot spots are one thing, a big gooey mess that can do whatever it wants is something else.

And again, with feeling: there are probably about 100 Chernobyls worth of just cesium in the damaged buildings.  Chernobyl burned real nice, but it was only three years old.  All of this huge amount of fuel rods at Fukushima is waaaaaaay more irradiated and full of fission product than Chernobyl was.

Fri, 11/04/2011 - 06:55 | 1844242 Element
Element's picture

I think given all we know and have discovered so far, and that they have admitted, Tepco is (still) systematically lying its arse off, as well as the Govt.

A big gooey steamy thick acidic brine-metal solute, is what's still coming.

And each time it rains heavily ... it will ooze out ... like puss from a weeping boil





Thu, 11/03/2011 - 10:11 | 1841096 spanish inquisition
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Thanks for the info. Based on your info, it seems to me that they know the buildings are coming down and the covers are more of a David Copperfield illusion so people don't see the slow collapse.

I think I understand your analysis regarding the China syndrome and have a question. Is there any issue with the slope of the underlying bedrock creating a flow to the ocean?

Fri, 11/04/2011 - 07:30 | 1844241 Element
Element's picture

I don't think the mobility of a melt is the principle issue, for if it flows it dilutes.


If it flows it will cool somewhat as it heats up new areas it moves into.

Plus, as it moves, and/or melts it also dilutes, so it this cools because it can self-interact less efficiently, so will cool and will stay cool.

But that cooling solves NOTHING.

The greater danger is if it does NOT flow and dilute, but instead stays right where it is, in a shockingly reactive and poisonous pool.

Let me be completely clear;

If this pool of melt corium were right NOW at room temperature and solid, this would still be an epic catastrophe.

This is because it will still mobilise within water and you can't stop it if the reactors are flooded with brine, and foundations are cracked and permeable to water and steam.  If it created lots of melted glass in the foundation (an yes, I'm confident it did) that 'glass' (slag really) will hydrate and devitrify (i.e. grow crystals from the bulk chemistry of that slag .. . and it can happen very quickly ... think days to hours), and the residues of that slag's mineral alteration will turn into a hydrated liquefied goo and will mobilise very readily, as a radioactive acid, in any water that is present.

Especially in extremely salty water (from lots of evaporation leaving the salt behind, as steam was driven off).

Decay rates do not decrease with falling temperature. It remains just a deadly as before.

So cooling it down ultimately solves NOTHING, all the cooling does is slow the RATE of solute and gas propagation.

Slows it, but does NOT stop it. It can't be stopped, there is no magic cold-shutdown condition.

This thing does NOT have an OFF setting.

But TPTB in Japan are pretending this will somehow solve or remedy something, and stabilise the situation longer-term, in some utter fantasy condition of "cold shutdown", in which workers and machines can clean it up.

Monty Python couldn't generate no more absurdist term, with regard to Daiichi.

This is not a man-made reactor any more, it's a little pool of Hell, and it's going to get much more intense - even if it cools down in a year or five.

In fact, the bulk hydration of the melt corium will occur as it cools down. So as you cool it down (if you actually could ... which you probably can't ... it will do that itself) you thus also allow and in fact cause it to become more mobile in water.

The real issue is the mobility of individual atoms, and compounds in solutes and as gases.

That's a staggeringly deadly problem - right NOW - and what we have seen so far is several orders of magnitude LESS than what's to come.

And it's cumulative dosage, plus time that matters, not some temporal map of radiation flux, on date 'x'.

I would suggest people forget about that glib China Syndrome melt-meets-water-table myth, and just look at the geochemical processes that will certainly unfold to mobilise this muck.

Many furnaces (Labs and industrial scale) create slag glass, that turns into a mineralised wet 'paste', within days or hours, simply by taking in the water within humid air.

But put it in a pool of hot salty water, and much of it simply dissolves - completely - into the water that becomes a dense 'solute'.

And the more salty and also hot the water is, the generally more concentrated a resulting mobile solute can become (i.e. it can absorb/dissolve more radioactive atoms into itself, before crystals are forced precipitate out) because the water's metal solubility is thus increased.

However any fall in temp or pressure or saltiness will instantly change the solubility of the liquid, and thus cause an instant precipitation of extremely radioactive mineralisation, as it can suddenly  no longer be held in the solution.

Get it?

You then get trillions upon uncountable trillions of micro-crystals (only a few tens to a few thousands of atoms per crystal), being spread all over wherever this liquid goes ... and yes, this is what the green goo they're spraying is for. They need to stop these getting airborne.

Crystals which are so small they can be mobilized and be blown around by a stiff sea-breeze, and then come down in rain.

So, you now have a mobile REGIONAL problem because these micro-crystals will definitely move as water and dust do, and will cummulatively poison everything it reaches.

The 'slope' of bedrock units is almost entirely irrelevant because it won't be a melt that moves, and we already know the bedrock is permeable, because we already know the ground water is highly contaminated. So we know water is moving through the pore-spaces within the rock and soil.

What is still to come from those FLOODED reactor basements will be a super-poisonous liquid, that wildly exceeds the capacity for humans or machines to capture store and treat it, although great efforts will be expended to fruitlessly appear to be able to do that - before it is effectively abandoned. The extremely deadly precipitated mineralisations will see to that.

Now collapse a building, or even 4 of them, and their spent fuel pool's contents on top ... 


The extraordinary contaimination of soil and child's shoes, that Gunderson mentions below, is just the beginning of this.

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 09:34 | 1840896 jse111
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TY for a brilliant, on point presentation. As repeated ad nauseum and at the ultimate best, from Tokyo northward will become uninhabitable within 5 and likely fewer years. Additionally, the human genome damage in place and accumulating is and will be geometrically incalculable.

Lastly and unfortunately, no current technological remedy is available to end "Godzilla's March To The Sea" and beyond. Limiting the colossal damage exclusively to Japan is virtually the only viable option.

Said with the utmost respect, "Why must it be this way!"


Thu, 11/03/2011 - 04:59 | 1840016 Urban Roman
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Tepco's assertion "We sprinkled a little boric acid on it, so it's all better now" sounds so lame. If they aren't getting heavy and heat resistant metal borides into the corium itself they are accomplishing nothing.

Thu, 11/03/2011 - 05:01 | 1840019 Element
Element's picture

yep, it's like water off a duck's back ... it doesn't go into the duck.

Wed, 11/02/2011 - 22:57 | 1839748 Forgiven
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You should also read this report by John Daly at Oilprice.com




Thu, 11/03/2011 - 09:54 | 1841010 Bicycle Repairman
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Until a million shovels are dipping into the morass of Fukushima, there is no endgame.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!